Harlow Labour leader backs Sir Keir Starmer over local media support

Politics / Wed 2nd Nov 2022 at 04:42pm

THIS week is Journalism Matters Week. Much of the focus has been on the challenges facing local media.

Even BBC Essex is facing cuts to its coverage.

The new culture secretary Michelle Donelan pledged to be a “champion for journalism”.

The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer called for big tech companies such as Facebook and Google to be forced to pay for news.

We asked Harlow Labour leader, Chris Vince for his comments.

Cllr Vince said: “I welcome news that Sir Keir Starmer has said that the next Labour Government would ensure social media giants like Twitter and Facebook have to pay journalists for their news stories.

Speaking about the issue Keir said “In the platform age, it’s only fair that creators are fairly rewarded for their work and not just the platforms that profit from it. That’s why we support moves to make platforms pay for news content and to give newspapers and publishers greater control of their data and content.

“The government must act to secure the future of our media.” Like Keir I am disappointed that the current Conservative Government has dragged its feet on this.

The importance of impartial local journalism cannot be understated and one which will be poignant to the people of Harlow who no longer have a printed newspaper dedicated to our town since the wrapping up of the Harlow Star in a printed form in January 2019.

I recognise the work that this online newspaper does to address some of this imbalance and putting the local first but recognise that it is smaller, local media outlets who are struggling to survive in an ever-challenging climate. In fact, in the news today BBC Essex, who often cover Harlow-centric stories, are now facing major cuts to programming. If BBC Essex are facing issues what hope is there for other local media outlets.

As someone who is a huge advocate of local government, something that has been sadly neglected under this Conservative government, I am hugely concerned about the decline of local media as stories about the work of local government authorities are seldom found elsewhere.

“I look forward to welcoming the next Labour government and working with it to ensure that local government gets the attention that it deserves but also that we address the issue of local media, ensuring that everyone gets the unbiased and local news they need to make informed decisions”.

Keir Starmer: Labour media policies to include big tech news payments (pressgazette.co.uk)

BBC Essex facing major cuts to programming – here’s how new schedule would look (msn.com)

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